Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz, writing for the Washington Post:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is lying when he says the Islamic Republic has never had any intention of building an atomic weapon. Defecting Iranian nuclear engineers told U.S. officials in the late 1980s that the mullahs’ program, then hidden, was designed exclusively for such arms. Everything Western intelligence services have tracked since then matches those early revelations.
U.S. participation in the upcoming negotiations doesn’t appear to be premised on an expectation of Iranian veracity. If it were, President Obama wouldn’t send his secretary of state until Tehran had come clean about its past deceits. The exemplary behavior of South Africa’s often-mendacious apartheid government when it decided to go non-nuclear — total transparency about the militarization of its atomic program — isn’t expected from Iran. The clerical regime has already dropped the bar through its “facts on the ground” intransigence: more than 19,000 centrifuges built and a heavy-water plant nearing completion. Washington doesn’t want to go to war again in the Middle East, and the Iranians know it.
The administration and Congress are gambling that sanctions will be enough to overcome the regime’s chronic dishonesty. Economic pain will be so intense, the theory holds, that eventually Tehran will play by Western rules.
In other words, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guards and Rouhani — who had a not-insignificant role in developing Iran’s nuclear program in the 1990s — would be willing to admit that “evil incarnate” (Khamenei’s update to the “Great Satan”), against which the Islamic Republic’s very identity has been built, has defeated their nuclear aspirations.
Whole thing here.